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Facebook looking at buying WhatsApp messaging app

updated 11:24 am EST, Mon December 3, 2012

Could hint at plans for Messenger

Facebook is in talks to possibly buy WhatsApp, the developer of a popular namesake messaging app, say TechCrunch sources. It's so far unknown what price Facebook might be offering, or how far into negotiations the companies are. If confirmed, though, the talks would suggest that Facebook plans to dramatically alter its messaging services.

While Facebook Messenger currently works only on Android, BlackBerry, and the iPhone and iPod touch, the WhatsApp platform additionally supports Windows Phone and Symbian. WhatsApp is also available in over 100 countries, and has tens of millions of users, which could fit in with the kind of footprint Facebook wants to achieve. The app's developer is currently searching for translators for dozens of languages.

Complicating any interest from Facebook is that WhatsApp is a paid title, and its developer has been actively opposed to advertising, whereas ads are the main source of Facebook's income. That could be irrelevant, though, if Facebook simply wants to upgrade or replace Messenger. Conversely, WhatsApp could be offered as a "premium" app, contributing some non-ad income.

by MacNN Staff



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